REVIEW: ‘The Old Guard’ (2020) is a Much Needed Update to Superheroes

Rating: 4 out of 5.

“Out with the old, in with the new. The Old Guard is a wonderfully refreshing update to the superhero genre.”

As the saying goes ‘out with the old, in with the new’ and Netflix’s latest film release is no exception. Released in early July, The Old Guard quickly became one of the most popular films on Netflix. In a world of media that is saturated with superhero stories, the film is a wonderfully refreshing update to the genre, as a cast of immortal mercenaries fight to keep their faith alive and their secrets from being revealed. Director Gina Prince-Bythewood has an eye for the genuine, the intriguing, the powerful, and the beautiful in The Old Guard

The film follows a team of centuries old warriors tasked with helping people all across the world as they become disillusioned with their seemingly impossible task, the growing threats to their anonymity in the modern world, and being hunted by corporate pharmaceutical executive, Steven Merrick (Harry Melling). The team, led by Andy or Andromache of Scythia as she was originally known (Charlize Theron), french soldier Booker (Matthias Schoenaerts), crusader boyfriends, Joe (Marwan Kenzari) and Nicky (Luca Marinelli), and newcomer Nile Freeman (KiKi Layne) are all wonderfully unique and fully fleshed out characters. In the film’s two hour runtime, audiences will get to know these characters through a slowly unravelling tangle of threads that connects us to their pasts and each character to one another . 

The film runs a little long and feels at times as if it would have been better suited as a television series, but it is an exciting and compelling watch nonetheless. The Old Guard, however, shines the most in its small, quiet, and unassuming moments as characters give voice to some of their innermost thoughts and feelings. The dialogue at any given moment is heartfelt and genuine, speaking to the nature of loss, guilt, hope, and faith in a way that feels right at home in a film about immortal, world-saving, and seemingly almost divine superheroes. 

That said, killer action sequences and fight scenes certainly don’t hurt (unless you’re on the other side of Andy’s battle axe, gun, or fists, in which case —ouch). The choreographed fighting throughout the film seamlessly integrates the use of hand to hand combat, blades, and guns. It’s a wonder the camera is able to still compellingly follow these scenes, maintaining the film’s clear grasp on the fundamentals of cinematography.

The Old Guard provides a much needed update to the superhero genre with a diverse set of complex heroes, modern day villains, incredible action sequences, and an emotionally compelling story all while honoring some of the more mythological roots of the genre. 

Directed By: Gina Prince-Bythewood

Produced By: Stan Wlodkowski, Greg Rucka, David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, Don Granger, Charlize Theron, A.J. Dix, Toby Hefferman, Beth Kono

Cast: Charlize Theron, KiKi Layne, Matthias Schoenaerts, Marwan Kenzari, Luca Marinelli, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Harry Melling, Van Veronica Ngo

Release Date: July 10, 2020

Available On: Netflix

Featured Image Courtesy of Netflix